6 August 2018Hot off the Press
Craig Emerson resigned from his regular commentary spot on Sky News on Monday in protest of the network’s interview with far right ‘activist’ Blair Cottrell on Sunday night.
The former Labor front-bencher announced his resignation from Sky via Twitter, saying the broadcaster’s interview “Neo-Nazi Blair [Cottrell]…was another step in a journey to normalising racism & bigotry in our country.”
Mr Emerson tweeted:
I have advised @SkyNewsAust that I have quit as a Sky commentator. My father fought Nazis in WWII and was interred in a German POW camp. The decision to allow Neo-Nazi Blair Cotterell onto the channel was another step in a journey to normalising racism & bigotry in our country.
— Craig Emerson (@DrCraigEmerson) August 6, 2018
Mr Emerson had a regular spot where he commented on politics and economics.
Sky News Director Greg Byrnes has confirmed the removal of the interview from repeat run-sheets and online platforms.
Stopping short of an apology, Mr Byrnes said:
It was wrong to have Blair Cottrell on Sky News Australia. His views do not reflect ours. The interview has been removed from repeat timeslots and online platforms.
– Greg Byrnes, News Director
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) August 5, 2018
The Adam Giles interview with Mr Cottrell discussed immigration and the stifling of “foreign ideologies” in Australia.
Mr Cottrell, former leader of the Victoria-based United Patriots Front (UPF), is known for his anti-multicultural, anti-immigration and anti-Islam protests, insisting ‘leftist’ infiltration of Australian institutions is undermining national strength.
The high-profile nationalist has also received much media criticism for suggesting Hitler posters and Mein Kamf be introduced to classrooms, among other varied controversial views.
Sky News hosts David Speers and Laura Jayes have voiced their disappointment with the channel’s decision to include Mr Cottrell in the programme, highlighting his convictions for arson, racial vilification, and burglary among other offences, including testosterone smuggling.
I have just arrived back in the country tonight to be met with the understandable outrage over this. 100% agree with @ljayes. As News Director Greg Byrnes says it was wrong to have this guy on Sky News. https://t.co/QQF4ESRmbJ
— David Speers (@David_Speers) August 5, 2018
Outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has also commented that “featuring a neo-Nazi with a history of crime and violence…highlights how extremists are being dangerously accommodated by sections of the Australian media” and that Sky News has reached a “shameful low”.
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